Date posted

27 Jun 2024

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The rise of Connected TV
A guide to a complex web of video inventory

With over 65% of UK households now owning a connected TV, and YouTube accounting for nearly 60% of all video consumption, the video landscape is undergoing a dynamic shift. The expansion and diversification of available digital video channels has increased choice for viewers, leaving traditional broadcasters with a declining market share.

As a result, Connected TV and Online Video partners are increasingly emerging as major players in the programmatic video ecosystem. While this opens up exciting new opportunities for advertisers, it has also led to a complicated new vocabulary to get to grips with.

This guide cuts through the jargon, explaining video inventory types and empowering you to navigate the evolving landscape to achieve your video marketing goals.

In this guide:

Linear TV

Think BBC One, ITV1 and Channel 4. Historically delivered to TV sets via TV aerials, Linear TV refers to traditional broadcast television where channels air content to a predetermined, continuous schedule. Reaching 81% of UK adults weekly in December 2023, it still has massive reach across the UK making its impact and value as a branding tool undeniable, and securing its share of advertising budgets for over five decades.

This is changing though with viewer share in decline, particularly with younger demographics who have grown up with the convenience of on-demand content across a variety of devices. The industry has referred to this generation as “cord-cutters” in recent years, but the reality is that Gen Zs barely remember a time when TV content was delivered through a cable. They were born cordless.

Sports broadcasting rights, however, have played a large part in maintaining reach, particularly with younger demographics. The convenience of watching live sports on television, often unavailable elsewhere, keeps many viewers engaged, if only during these events.

Connected TV (CTV)

The term CTV is used in two different ways. Firstly, to refer to a CTV device itself – an internet-enabled television, either one with a built-in app-based operating system or one that uses a set-top box or similar device (like a Fire Stick) to connect to the internet. Notably, most televisions sold today are connected by default.

But in addition to the device, CTV is also used to refer to any and all of the below video advertising inventory that are not traditional linear TV ads.

Addressable TV

Think Sky AdSmart and ITVX. Instead of targeting large, pre-defined groups like linear TV, addressable TV lets you reach specific viewers based on their unique characteristics. Simply put, addressable TV lets you target individual viewers based on their interests, online behaviour, and even specific locations, allowing for more precise and measurable campaigns.

Broadcaster Video on Demand (BVOD)

Think Sky Go, Channel 4 on Demand and ITVX. Pioneering the CTV space by helping to drive increased adoption of internet enabled TVs, BVOD allows users to access their linear programmes on demand – and enables advertisers to buy pre-roll and mid-roll ads that mimic linear ads. BVOD is typically high-quality media, and therefore expensive compared to other online video.

Advertising Video on Demand (AVOD)

Think YouTube and RakutenTV. AVOD is a broad term that refers to all video channels where access to content is free, in exchange for exposure to advertising. The increased penetration of Connected TV devices has meant a much greater share of AVOD content is being consumed on TV screens, for example YouTube, increasing its legitimacy as an alternative to Linear or BVOD advertising.


Think MolotovTV. Hybrid-AVOD is the term used to describe AVOD channels that mandate a logged-in account in order to access any content. Once a user has subscribed, they are still free to access as content is funded by advertisements. The 100% logged-in user base enables strong user targeting and segmentation options, although reach tends to be limited.

Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD)

Think Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Disney+. SVOD offers extensive and high-quality content, accessible only through paid monthly subscriptions. This has grown massively over the last five years, stealing market share from traditional broadcasters with the quantity and quality of content available. However, the constant rise in SVOD providers and the exclusivity of their content has led to the need for multiple subscriptions per household, resulting in SVOD-fatigue with consumers. To combat this, particularly during the current cost-of-living crisis, platforms have begun offering ad-supported, discounted memberships.


Think the ad-supported memberships now available on Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Disney+. Hybrid-SVOD refers to SVOD services that also expose users to advertising. Research shows that 51% of total SVOD sign-ups last November have been for ad-supported memberships, so Hybrid-SVOD reach is growing fast. Advertiser uptake of this inventory has been slowed by high Cost Per Mille (CPM) costs with early adopter, Netflix, initially asking for a minimum commitment of one million dollars to access any inventory. 

Free Ad-supported Streaming TV (FAST)

Think SamsungTV and Pluto TV. FAST encompasses channels that allow users free access to additional streaming content in exchange for exposure to ads. FAST channels mimic traditional Linear TV, with content streaming in a continuous, pre-determined schedule with intermittent ad breaks. In the UK market, FAST channels haven’t gained widespread popularity, particularly with the increasing availability of cheaper ad-supported subscription tiers from content providers; these subscription tiers often offer higher quality content.

Over The Top Video (OTT)

OTT is a catch-all term for content that is streamed via the internet. It is also used to refer to all video advertising inventory that is not traditional linear TV ads. This term is being used less frequently, as the range of types of OTT content continues to grow, more specificity is often needed.

Online Video (OLV)

OLV typically refers to video content mainly consumed on Desktop or Mobile devices. This content includes video sharing platforms, as well as video content embedded on websites. Suppliers of OLV include Teads and DailyMotion.

Choosing the right video inventory mix

Now you know what each term (and acronym) means. But what’s the best approach for your next campaign? Finding the right mix of video inventory for your brand requires consideration of several key factors: your target audience’s demographics and viewing habits, each channel’s ability to drive incremental reach and impact, balancing your budget constraints and alignment with your overall marketing goals.

Testing and optimising the right media mix based on data and insights is key to ensuring a return on investment. If you need support in planning your media mix, our team can help.